Australian popular music history on television: Long Way to the Top

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Public and commercial television has increasingly looked to popular music histories to fulfil content requirements. The recent ratings success of INXS: Never Tear Us Apart (Channel 7, 2014) and Molly (Channel 7, 2016) as television drama series calls to attention how and why Australian pop and rock histories are created for general audiences. Originally aired on the ABC in 2001, Long Way to the Top is the most detailed attempt to construct a pop/ rock narrative that intersects with broader Australian social and cultural history. This article examines the methods deployed by the series’ writers and producers, and the challenges in reconciling musicians’ and fans’ experiences with traditional television documentary practices. It argues that the Long Way to the Top series remains important in informing later TV histories, and in the ways in which it interacted with prior local music industry mythologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-443
Number of pages15
JournalHistory Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Television histories
  • popular music
  • Australian rock

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